Efforts underway, but more needed to fight the bug
March 20th, 2020 at 5:26 pm
Efforts underway, but more needed to fight the bug

Nadeem Qadir;

The government has taken a number of steps, including putting the army for guarding the quarantine centres for expatriate Bangladeshis, but many feel there was more needed to be done and quickly.

Dhaka residents want government to take tougher and firm measures to deal with the world pandemic which can claim tens of thousands of lives unless the right steps are in place immediately and a vaccine is found.

Bangladesh’s health directorate on Thursday said it was utilizing China’s experience to tide over the coronavirus crisis and it could help this crowded South Asian country if followed strictly. The message is to start all preventive measures immediately and not wait.

A Nature (www.nature.com) entitled “What China’s coronavirus response can teach the rest of the world” that researchers worldwide are studying the effects of China’s lockdowns to glean insights about controlling the viral pandemic.

In a report released late last month, the World Health Organization congratulated China on a “unique and unprecedented public health response [that] reversed the escalating cases”.

Covid-19 outbreak

Tatem and Lai’s model assesses the combined effect of China’s early detection and isolation, the resulting drop in contact between people and the country’s intercity travel bans on reducing the virus’ spread.

Together, these measures prevented cases from increasing by 67-fold — otherwise, there would have been nearly 8 million cases by the end of February.

China has shown an example of dealing with the situation and it is good news that Bangladesh is following how our eastern giant has come out of the chaos after being the source of the bug.

However, the government needs to issue complete decisions, not half-hearted like “it is good if you offer prayers at home instead of mosques!” Why not “Offer prayers at home not mosques and only the Imam along with his assistant will keep the religious rites going.”

Our people either love to ignore any measures unless pressured or feel threatened. Let the authorities go tough and set some examples to give a lesson to the rest. Every second is important as we are sitting on a time bomb — either it will kill or we have to defuse it.

The government measures include setting up of corona units in public hospitals and keeping back-ups ready to treat the suspected cases and those sick. The Baitul Mukarram National Mosque wore a deserted look during Friday’s Jumma prayers, but still many turned up. Isn’t it better to keep the mosque shut or is it better to make the holy place for faithfuls to get infected. We need to list the very young and the very elderly quickly on a Upazila basis and secure emergency measures if the two groups, most prone to the disease, can get quick treatment.

Nadeem Qadir is a senior journalist based in Dhaka and a UN Dag Hammarskjöld Journalism Fellow